Never Alone

ForeverAlone wrote:

Minnesodad,
I am new to your site but I am hoping you can help.  I think I am cursed to be forever alone.  I am 19, almost 20, and I have only had two serious relationships, but I have been unlucky and single for a year now.  No one wants to be with me.  Am I going to just have a string of one night stands for my entire life?

ForeverAlone

ForeverAlone,

Welcome to my site.  You should know I keep it honest around here.  That said, you’re young and quite naïve if you think you should find “the one” by 19.

First, it is healthy to be alone once in awhile.  You should NEVER jump from one relationship to another.  Doing so just increases the chance of failure because you haven’t given yourself time to grow emotionally from the last one.

Secondly, if you’re just sleeping with people and hoping it gets serious, you’re flat out an idiot and no one wants to date the woman that just sleeps with every guy she meets. Build the relationship before intimacy and you will have a firmer foundation.  It seems like the younger generation today is quick to physical and rushing to love, then surprised when things go wrong.  Don’t rush things.  A relationship is like a nice rack of ribs…the good ones take time as well as the right ingredients.

Relax.  Enjoy being alone.  Work on yourself. If you hit 33 and you haven’t had a serious relationship, email me and I will apologize for bad advice.  I am guessing you will find the right guy before that.

Sean

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Grass is greener in friend’s pasture..

Celicia wrote:

Sean,

Help!  My best friend “Alice” is absolutely gorgeous and it draws all of the attention away from me when we go out!  I am not exaggerating.. My friend is 5’9″, 160lbs and a damn D cup.  A. DAMN. D. CUP!!

I am 5’7, 183lbs, and an A cup.  My hair is mousey, and I can’t ever seem to be fashionable.  Some of my friends try to be polite, and give me compliments when we go out, but the men always show interest in “Alice”.

How do I get more attention?  Do I talk to my friend, and if so, how do I tell her she is too gorgeous.

Cecilia

Cecilia,
Confidence goes a long way.  If you’re Debbie Downer with me, I can only imagine how extreme it is with your non-Alice friends when Alice is around. 

Your boobs aren’t big and you have a little more curve in your streets, but there are guys out there that are into that.  What will drive them away is when you’re obsessing and whining about how you look if you’re out with Alice. 

If she isn’t actively stealing guys away from you, forget the ones that go for her and look for some others while she is busy chatting.  Be confident, be conversational, and be yourself.  There are a ton of guys that look for those qualities first.  The guys that go for looks first aren’t guys you want to end up with.

Sean

When the fire goes out.

Smoldering ash.
Smoldering ash.

Stan wrote,

Sean, at 50, I realize I am much older than your typical reader, but I need some advice.  After 20 years of marriage, I feel the “fire” and the sexual chemistry is gone from my relationship and I don’t know what to do.

I met my wife 26 years ago and we hit it off immediately.  We spent time with the same people, so it was also easy to get to know one another without actually dating.  We did end up dating, and two years after we met, we got married.  Things were great at first as I got my first “big job” out of college and gave her what she wanted, to be a stay at home mom.  The trouble is, the kids never came.  After the first year, she was a nervous wreck.  Sex began to be structured and planned to the utmost detail.  5 years in, the doctors kept pushing for IVF and other methods, but my wife was insistent we would conceive naturally.  10 years in, we only had sex according to her menstrual calendar and all IVF hope had failed us.  She refused to adpot and began to micromanage every single thing she ate.  She refused to believe any doctor that even hinted she or I were unable to have children (even though tests said we were fine).  She and I fought constantly about kids and her ideas about how we could conceive.  15 years in, we were only having sex once a month and I could barely finish because it was a constant barrage of instruction and frustrating comments.  “Do the other thing!,” she’d yell.  “Not that way,” she’d correct me.  It was dull and mundane.  I thought about divorce and having an affair, but I loved my wife too much to do either one.  At 20 years in, she tried committing suicide when the doctors told her there was little to no chance we’d ever conceive.  Now, at 26 years, she is a shell of the confident and sexy woman I married.  We didn’t have children and we barely have a marriage.  I have basically given up emotionally and we’re just going through the motions because neither one of us has the guts to face the elephant in the room.

My question for you is how do I save my marriage?  I’m going to guess you, like everyone else, would have thought I’d still be thinking of leaving her, but it’s quite the opposite.  I want so light the fire again and help her realize that even though we didn’t have kids, we still have a wonderful life to live.  We have tons of nieces and nephews and a marriage to work on, and I’d hate to see it end.  Yes, we didn’t have kids, but we have always had each other to love.

Do you have any advice for me?

“Stan”

 

“Stan”,

I can’t emphasize how important therapy is in situations like this.  You appear to have been fighting this battle with each other (and times) and against each other (at other times), and ignoring the intimacy of marriage in the meantime.  The more you structure sex and the less you enjoy the intimacy, the less enjoyable ANY intimacy will be.  After time, you will eventually lose interest (and some begin to look elsewhere) which can cause issues within the marriage.  Stress is also dangerous to the human body and when it’s overwhelming stress, it can be devastating.

See a therapist..both of you.  Talk about everything.  Cry.  Hold each other.  Yell.  Find new ground.  If you’re religious, join a church group that deals with similar issues.  At the very least, you need to see a therapist if you want this to work, and you need to find a way to ignite her fire for life.  I realize kids were (and possibly ARE) one of the most important things in life to her, but I hope therapy can help her understand what she is missing by making it her only focus.  You aren’t getting out of this without a lecture either..you said you gave up.  You married this woman and even though the intimacy may be gone, and you’re doing the right thing by trying to save the marriage, you need to evaluate why you ever thought giving up emotionally was ever a good idea without talking with a therapist first.

Intimacy can be very difficult with too much structure in the relationship if you completely remove the fun, spontaneous moments.I hope this works out for the both of you.  I commend you for trying to save your marriage.  Hopefully, with therapy, you can find each other again and enjoy the next 50 years together.

 

Sean

 

Digging a Sociopath

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Linda wrote:

Hello,

I dated a guy for 2 years and we just recently split after I realized he had been cheating on me almost every weekend for the entire time we dated (he said he was at the gym but he never got in shape, so I investigated). I’d say (and many of his and my friends would say) that I am better looking than him, but he is charming/sexy/has piercing eyes, is a liar (even about little things) and feels no guilt, likes risky behaviors like gambling and wild drunk nights out, is overly power hungry, and thinks being a dick to people makes him get better treatment.  All in all, we fell in love within a few weeks of dating, moved in together a few months later and we spent every day together almost for 2 years-we were in love, or so I thought.  He seemed to do everything for me until I found out he was cheating on me and we broke up. He blew up when I accused him of cheating and gave me lie after lie until I presented him with the details of my investigating.  He stopped talking, grabbed a bag of clothes and left.  He’s written me several letters since then and always says he “lied about many things to me, but “I love you” was the truth.”

Was I blindly dating a sociopath?  How could I have been so blind?

Linda

Linda,

I did some digging and asked some friends of mine and, from what I’ve learned, yes, you were dating a sociopath.  I looked for “telltale” signs of a sociopath and here’s what 20 sites (and my friends, who’ve dated one at some point) all said:

1. Charisma and charm. He’s a smooth talker, always has an answer, never misses a beat. He can play any role is social situations.

2. Enormous ego. He acts like the smartest, richest or most successful person in the room. He may actually come out and tell you that.

3. Jekyll and Hyde personality. One minute he loves you, the next minute he hates you. He’s got an extremely short fuse.

5. Blames others. He always has an excuse. Someone else is always the cause of his problems.

6. Lies and gaps in the story. You ask questions, and the answers are vague or details don’t match and he gets angry when you dig for details.

7. Intense eye contact. He uses his eyes to his advantage.

8. Fast moving. Within weeks, he quickly proclaims that you’re his true love and soul mate. He wants to move in together within a month or two.

9. Pity play. He appeals to your sympathy. He wants you to feel sorry for his abusive childhood, psychotic ex, incurable disease or financial setbacks.  Feel sorry for him and you’ll be used as a shield time and time again.

10. Sexual magnetism. If you feel intense attraction, it may be the excess testosterone that sociopaths possess.

Since your email details matched 5-7 of these points above, I’d say yes…you dated a sociopath.  As far as you being blinded by it, I’d imagine it is easy miss at times, depending on the situation.

A sociopath knows the difference between right and wrong and they understand that actions have consequences but the problem is, they don’t care, nor do they feel guilt. They have no inner moral-compass to guide them.  Sociopaths don’t feel regular emotion.  They feel anger, rage, and envy, which can lead to aggression, but the remaining emotion is shallow at best. They cannot show empathy and cannot connect with others (feeling true love).  Sociopaths may “collect” things like it’s a contest (electronics, toys, prizes, relationships, etc.,) because they feel accomplishment when they feel they’re “winning”.  Sociopaths see nothing wrong with using people and then throwing them away because they are okay with lying, cheating, stealing, and manipulating people who they’ve deemed “weaker” than they are. Even they may, at times, pretend to have low self-esteem or insecurities, they do not actually feel that way…they’re using those attributes to manipulate others. Their egotistical behavior and arrogance makes in extremely for a sociopath to benefit from therapy and almost impossible to change. I know, by this definition Charlie Sheen is a sociopath, and that may or may not be true.

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…Or it may be true.

In any case, you weren’t necessarily blinded..you were more than likely looking at a person that was disguised as someone completely different.  You liked the disguise, not the real person.

Sean

Is it love that I’m feeling?

Yikes. A five way at second. That’s no fun.

Sienna wrote:

Sean,

I really want to tell this boy I like that I love him, but I’m kind of scared to do it because I don’t want to run him off.  We’ve been dating for two weeks and I think about him all of the time.  Should I try to call him and talk to him about how I feel or should I just let it go?

Sienna

Sienna,

You should definitely wait on this one.  Some people may say, “..it was love at first sight..” when they talk about how they met “the one” but it’s not actually love…it’s just good chemistry.  Love is built as the relationship grows and confusing love and chemistry can have disastrous results.  On the other hand, being unavailable or seeming uninterested can also have disastrous results.  Check out this Match.com article I found.  I’ve included my input on each point in underlined text below each one.

FROM MATCH.COM 
“It’s not you, it’s me” may be the most common breakup excuse of all time, but what’s the real reason your date suddenly got spooked and hit the relationship “eject” button? Here’s the scoop on why some relationships abruptly go bust, straight from the men themselves…
Reason #1: “She was a little too hard to get, so I stopped pursuing her”
Playing hard-to-get can be an extremely effective device, but you might scare a guy away entirely if you abide too strictly by the outdated guidelines in The Rules. “I went on several dates with this woman my buddy set me up with and we had an awesome time: great conversations, great kisses… but then she wouldn’t return my calls or emails for a couple of days, and it seemed like she always had other plans if I didn’t book a date with her pretty far in advance,” says Jim, 29, from Bennington, VT. “My buddy kept telling me that she was into me, but I couldn’t help but feel like she was stringing me along until she found someone better. So, I stopped calling her. She called me a week later to make sure everything was cool between us, but I broke it off before she could dump me.”

Tip: A vital part of the playing hard-to-get game right is dropping enough clues (especially to shy types) that you can eventually, well, be gotten. When you do go out with someone, ladies, let him know that you had an amazing time. That way, when you don’t jump all over his offer for a last-minute date, he won’t think that you’re really just blowing him off.

I have ended or avoided getting into at least a dozen relationships with women that I felt were too hard to get.  Not being available is a HUGE turnoff for me and almost every guy I know because we feel if you truly want to get to know someone, you’ll make them a priority, not just expect to squeeze them in when you have time.  Unlike Match says, don’t go out with the ladies and brag about the awesome time you had – offer to meet up with him and introduce him to your friends (but then go back to your ladies).  Who knows?  Maybe he’ll bring along some guy friends that may be perfect for that “ever-single” bff of yours.
 
Reason #2: He feels like there’s some chemistry, but not the right kind (or that it isn’t completely mutual)
The truth is, men have lots of issues with mutual compatibility, including when, where and how they prefer a woman to show her affection from a physical standpoint. “When you jump right into sleeping with someone, you skip a lot of the bonding behaviors that intensify a budding relationship,” explains Dr. Pat Love, author of The Truth About Love: The Highs, the Lows, and How You Can Make It Last Forever. “I tell people to try and enjoy the ride a little. Don’t skip over that romantic, electrifying bonding period.” James, 47, from New Braunfels, TX once left a woman after six months of dating due to her proclivity for PDA: “I loved her, sure, but the fact that she became more grabby and insisted on kissing and hanging all over me in front of my coworkers, family and kids eventually drove me away,” he admits. “It just felt slightly forced and unnatural to me.” Beyond bypassing the bonding period or putting your affections too publicly on display, holding out for too long to spend the night with your boyfriend can throw a different set obstacles into a new relationship. Chris, 32, from New Haven, CT, broke things off because, he explains, “My ex-girlfriend and I were compatible in every way except in the bedroom. After a while, I just felt rejected. It all went downhill from there.”
Tip: If you are presented with a maneuver you’re not comfortable with, don’t just say “no,” suggests Dr. Love, “say what.” Meaning, to avoid making your guy feel rejected or smothered, suggest an alternative that would be pleasing to you (and be willing to negotiate until you can both happily agree where your boundaries lie, affection-wise). This way, he knows that you’re not put off by him or marking your territory like he’s an inanimate object.
I didn’t like how Match basically said, “It doesn’t matter if you feel comfortable having sex when HE wants it, just sit there while he tries to negotiate a “beej” out of the deal to keep him interested.”  Wrong.  If you’re not feeling it, just explain that you’re taking awhile to warm up to the idea of physical intimacy and that you’d like to spend more time with him to be comfortable.  If down the road you don’t feel that way, then end it nicely and walk away.  However, that also means not leading him on, so no “beej” negotiations either.  No second base, no third base…just stay at home plate.
Reason #3: “I felt like I could never measure up to her level of success, and my ego couldn’t handle it”
Ask a room full of single men if they’d be interested in dating a successful woman with a gas-guzzling SUV in the driveway and an offshore bank account, and 9 out of 10 will trample you just to meet her. But while the fantasy of having a woman who takes you to fancy restaurants and picks up checks bigger than your weekly salary might sound nice, lots of men can’t handle the emasculating feelings that arise. Says Kevin, 30, from New York City: “I met someone at a friend’s wedding and we really hit it off. She was a financial executive; I was, and still am, a production assistant just barely scraping by. She said it didn’t matter to her and I tried not to let it matter to me, but whenever she slapped down her platinum card, it just made me feel kind of pathetic.”

Tip: So what is an upwardly mobile single woman to do? Dr. Love advises talking about it with him honestly — but keep the discussion brief. “If you want to go out somewhere you know is out of his reach, just say, ‘I would like to treat you,’ and try not to make a big deal out of it. The more you talk about it, the more he will feel emasculated,” explains Dr. Love. And remember, you’re not his financial advisor, so let him grab the check every now and again. It might not be good for his bank account, but it’ll do wonders for his ego and your budding relationship.

Just avoid this type of guy.  Financial issues can be tough.  It is sometimes tough to deal with financial inequality for either side, but if you’re clicking, don’t be insecure (either one of you).  If you are insecure, it’ll lead to all sorts of insecurity later on.  No one needs to support another person either though.  If you’re doing all of the paying and he/she is just mooching, it’s time to find someone that can give you more equal footing.

 
Reason #4: He feels like he now has another mother to answer to instead of a girlfriend
He already spent more than half his life listening to one woman tell him the brown belt doesn’t go with the black pants, and he doesn’t need you to keep nagging him about the exact same things. “A woman might think she’s taking care of her man, but instead, he often feels like he’s being controlled,” says Dr. Love. “When men feel like they are being mothered or being talked down to by a partner, it can be very demeaning and lead to the demise of the relationship.”

Tip: Want to improve your guy’s taste in clothes or take a different approach in his career? The key to success is properly phrasing your request so it doesn’t come across as if you’re policing all of his lifestyle choices. Don’t say, “Honey, you’d look so much nicer in an Oxford shirt than that ratty old tee;” say, “Wow, you’d look so hot in this — I’d love you to try it on for me!” If he thinks buttoning-up equals sex appeal, you can be sure he’ll do it. The same tactic works for any request, so long as you focus on the positive net results he’ll achieve afterwards instead of the negative ones you’re obsessed with pointing out to him now.

There was a woman once I dated that always made fun of my jeans.  She didn’t like them and felt I should be wearing the tight assed jeans with crosses bejeweled on the pockets.  She nagged at first and then tried the “you’d look sexy in this” approach and eventually, I ended things because I felt comfortable buying things I felt comfortable in and didn’t appreciate her comments.  I didn’t need 150$ jeans, my $30 jeans felt fine and I ended up finding someone who likes me for who I am, not what label is on my asscheek.  If you don’t like the way he dresses, bring it up once and leave it alone.  If there is no change and it still bothers you, find someone else.
Reason #5: “I ended it because she was pressuring me to move our relationship forward way too quickly”
When men feel as though a new relationship is going from zero to “let’s move in together” at light speed, most of them will try to slam on the brakes. “There is a biological reason why men and women move at different speeds in relationships,” says Dr. Love. “Sexual contact causes both men and women secrete a hormone called oxytocin, which intensifies feelings of love and the desire to nest. But in men, testosterone counteracts its effects. So afterwards, the woman is lying there feeling like they’ve bonded for life, while he’s wondering what’s on ESPN.” In other words, a woman may feel so connected to her guy as a relationship blossoms that she immediately starts thinking long-term; he, however, may not feel quite as committed to planning a future together.

Tip: How best to handle this chemical imbalance? Lay off the Martha Stewart Weddings subscription for a while and try following his lead. “Let him refer to you as his girlfriend before you call him your boyfriend, or at least wait for him to tell you he loves you before you start imagining what your kids might look like,” suggests Laurie N. from Little Rock, AK. “After my divorce, all I could think of was remarriage and I drove away two very nice guys before eventually settling down with my second husband,” she recalls. “Not everyone has the same relationship goals, and it’s best to let things develop over time organically.” If you’re with the right guy, his heart will eventually catch up with his hormones. In the meantime, try to relax and simply have fun while you’re spending time together.

This is another Titanic-relationship scenario that will sink something good in minutes.  I went on two dates with a woman that spent the entire date explaining that she wanted to be “wooed” and chased and she kept asking me how I’d “woo her”.  I stopped being interested by the second date. Another woman told me she loved me on the first date (no, not after sex) and that was enough for me to end things by the end of the night.  Relationships and marriage aren’t a race.  If you’re getting started on a serious relationship and you’re approaching your “Married by 30” deadline, stop looking at the deadline and just enjoy things for what they are.  Pushing someone along will only cause failure (and faster failure) than if you just take things slowly and let feelings develop organically.  If you’re the “I don’t usually do this, but I’ll sleep with you” excuse type of person, stop for your sake.  You’re not fooling anyone and you’re going to fall for the wrong guy. 
I think you fall into this last category Sienna.  I’d advise you to just let things happen as they happen.  After two weeks, telling someone you love them will either push them away immediately or it’ll create an awkward “do I say it just because he/she did” situation and it may complicate things later.  Hopefully things haven’t moved into a complicated intimacy area too with these feelings you think you’ve formed.  If they have, take a step back and build the relationship.  If you’re still “at home plate”, then stay there and enjoy the game.
Sean

 

From the fire to the pan.

Avelyn wrote:
Hi Sean,
So my situation is seemingly complicated…so I hope you’re ready to pick my brain!  About 6 months ago my ex and I finally ended things for good, resulting in no contact, which is for the better.  Things between us had gotten extremely bad to the point where he would constantly lie to me no matter how big or small the lie was, which was irritating…and he would constantly drink and get very mean to me when he was drunk, one time even telling me that I was worthless…wow.  Even though he would always apologize, he would get drunk again and tell me that he only ever apologizes because he knows its exactly what I want to hear.  He would also tell me that he knows I will always be around, even when I would tell him I was going to leave, he’d tell me that I would walk way for about 5 minutes and then come right back.  Overall, not a good relationship…and he was the first person I had fallen in love with so ending it officially was a pretty big deal.    But now I have found someone new! The new guy is the complete opposite of my ex, he is sweet and caring and appreciates me…which is weird for me because I am not used to it.  I find it hard to take his compliments, and im not sure if its because I am not used to hearing them.  The biggest issue I have found that is making complications is whenever my new guy tells me he’s at home or whenever he makes promises, I find it hard to believe him, even though I have absolutely no reason not to.  He has always been truthful with me….but yet im nervous he is lying or will lie.  With my ex the way our relationship went was we were on and off a lot and he would pull me in but then he would always end up telling me that “we just had to be friends and if i wasnt able to handle it then we couldnt talk” but then he would pull me in again and it ended up sucking me into this vicious cycle that lasted for more than a year.  I can tell this new guy is good and not like my ex but whenever the new guy makes a promise to me about anything, I go into panic mode and overthink everything.  I don’t want to push this guy away….I dont know why I am acting like this, any suggestions?  I want to be able to enjoy this new relationship and not be so worried about everything, especially when I dont know what is causing all my worries.  Any suggestions on why I am acting like this? or how to fix it?
Any ideas or suggestions just so I can get a feel on why i’m always freaking out would be helpful!
Thanks,
Avelyn
Avelyn,
This ex sounds like a textbook “abusive ex”.  The vicious cycle, the not letting go, the “mean when drunk” aspects, the lying, and the emotionally abusive attitude are all indicators of an abusive person.
I would first like to applaud your ability to leave and cut off communication.  Things like this are not ever easy to endure..let alone to end.
Secondly, you’re likely feeling the way you do about the new guy because you’re afraid of letting your guard down and being hurt and you’re scared of being vulnerable at a time when you have just started feeling good about a relationship.  I had it happen to me once.  I got out of an awful relationship early in my college years and completely destroyed the next relationship I was in with insecurity and a lack of trust.  As a result of the past drama, your brain is (as you said) in “panic mode” and  you over think things to prepare you for any sort of disappointment your brain perceives may exist…and nine times out of ten, there is NO ACTUAL looming disappointment or issue…but if there were, you need to examine yourself to determine if you’re okay dealing with heartache AND if you’d be okay being on your own for awhile (I mean like 6 months or more).  If you answer “no” to either (or both) of those, you should not be in a relationship because you aren’t ready for one.
I hate when people say “I’m independent” and mean the wrong thing, but stick with me as I explain my last sentence in the paragraph above this one.  When some people say “I’m independent”, they mean they like being alone.  That’s not independent, that’s antisocial.  “Independent” is the ability to be okay on your own (not a need to be on your own).  You need to be truly okay with being on your own in order to be successful in a relationship. Not only that, but you should be able to know that any doors with negative people in your life can close and remain closed.  THAT is being independent.
You may be feeling the lack of trust and the panic because you haven’t established that inner strength yet.  If this thing with the guy has been established as a committed relationship (you talked and both agree you’re boyfriend and girlfriend), then you need to communicate with him and let him know what you’re feeling and then get some psychological help (therapist) to work through the issues.  Many people don’t escape abusive relationships without a few issues to work through and that is okay.  Just make sure you work through them.
If it’s not a relationship, I’d recommend taking a break to work on yourself before taking things to a more serious level.
I hope this helps.
Sean

Is he or isn’t he?

Courtney wrote:

I am worried my boyfriend may be cheating on me.  He is going out without me most times now, and when he is out, he won’t answer his phone because he says its not fair to his friends. He also won’t tell me where he was or what they did.  He also stays at his friends’ places several times a week now and it bugs me.

We have dated for a year and this just started happening 6 months ago.  Let me know what you think. I would hate to just throw this away.

Courtney

Courtney,
I would bet my left toe that your boyfriend is indeed cheating on you.  I would also bet my left toe that you’re either in denial or you are the most naïve woman alive.

His going out and not letting you come, his not answering his phone while out with “friends”, and his refusal to tell you what he did while out are three red flags that he is either cheating on you or doing something major he doesn’t want you to know.  The fact that its been going on for 6 months and he is sleeping away from home makes me lean more toward cheating theories.

A relationship only grows with communication and trust and you can’t build trust and communicate if he won’t let you spend time with him.

I’d lay it out for him and let him know things aren’t working for you the way they are going.  Ask him to either come clean as to why he won’t let you come out (and ask that you be allowed to come along on future outings) and tell him that keeping things from you is inappropriate and you won’t tolerate it any longer.  If he blows you off, its time to be proactive and get out of that situation.

Good luck.
Sean